In what could be reminiscent of the 2000 presidential election, there has been some Internet chatter about a potential American Idol voting controversy involving James Durbin and Lauren Alaina and the possibility that some votes intended for Durbin were accidentally funneled to her instead.
Typically, when the Idol field is narrowed to a handful of contestants, they are
required to sing multiple songs in the same night. As a result, contestants are
assigned several phone and text numbers for voting purposes and those numbers
are usually given in sequential order based on appearance.
For example, if there are four remaining contestants and someone performs first, that person would usually sing their second song in the fifth slot, and the suffix of the voting numbers would be based on the order of his or her appearance (i.e. 866-IDOLS-01 and 866-IDOLS-05).
However, for reasons unknown, American Idol producers decided to re-arrange
the order in which the contestants performed their second songs on Wednesday
night, forcing James Durbin’s performances to be the first and eighth of the
evening. However, the phone numbers assigned to James did not correspond to
that order. Instead, his voting numbers ended with "01" and "05."
Because of this discrepancy, some are now speculating that Lauren (who was assigned the "08" suffix) may have received some of James’ votes, skewing the final results in the process.
While all of this is pure speculation, it does make one wonder if there was
at least some confusion in the minds of voters who were not fully paying
attention to the numbers assigned at the end of the show. Granted, that is
responsibility, but clearly this does create some intrigue, particularly since
Lauren was nearly eliminated last week and up until this week, James had never been in the “bottom 3″ or in danger of being eliminated.
Additionally, it is worth noting that when voting by phone, a generic confirmation message was given and did not indicate who was actually voted for.
What do you think?
UPDATE: May 15, 2011 – Since we originally ran the story above, many
people (on this site and others) have indicated that they either had difficulty
voting for James and/or experienced abnormal activity when attempting to cast
their votes. Please forward this story along to others and also share any unusual
voting experiences below.
Complaints of voting irregularities are not new for American Idol, but if enough people sound off, the mainstream media will pick up on this, forcing Fox and AI representatives to respond.
The mismatch of voting numbers and the contestants’ order of appearance, as described in the original article, along with the large number of voting complaints, should warrant a closer look into this situation.
UPDATE: May 17, 2011 — American Idol Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe spoke out publicly on Monday with “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Mary Murphy, only partially addressing the voting
issues surrounding James Durbin. He only spoke about the re-arrangement of the
singing order last Wednesday night, but failed to address the legitimate concerns that
have been raised on this site and elsewhere. Additionally, Lythgoe jokingly
referred to some Idol fans as "morons" and "meglomaniacs."
Really, Mr. Lythgoe? Wow.
– READ ABOUT IT HERE –